ComScore

33 Pecan Desserts That Prove the Underestimated Nut Can Do So Much More Than Pie

When it comes to planning your Thanksgiving menu, pecan pie for dessert (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, obvi) is a no-brainer. But what if we told you that this nut deserves more than to be pigeonholed into a single confection? In addition to classics like sticky buns and Southern-style pralines, pecans can also work wonders in brownies, cheesecakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream and so much more. Read on for 33 pecan desserts that prove the underestimated ingredient’s versatility, timelessness and deliciousness.

21 Chestnut Recipes That Demand a Spot on Your Holiday Table


pecan desserts pecan pie brownies recipe bright
Katherine Gillen

1. Pecan Pie Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

That gooey, buttery pecan pie topping is truly revelatory, if you ask us. So much so that none of your guests will know you started with boxed brownie mix.

pecan desserts maple pecan pie recipe
Katherine Gillen

2. Maple Pecan Pie

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, special occasion-worthy

If you’re going to stick with the O.G. this holiday, make this version. We swap out corn syrup in favor of maple syrup, so it’s seasonal and just sweet enough, rather than gloppy and cloying.

pecan desserts pecan brittle bark cookies recip
Rebecca Firth

3. Pecan Brittle Bark Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, kid-friendly

Chocolate chips could never. Make the caramelly pecan-dark chocolate bark, chop it up and toss it into the cookie dough (but be sure to save a few pieces for the baker to snack on).

pecan desserts easy cranberry pecan sandwich cookies
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

4. Easy Cranberry-Pecan Sandwich Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, special occasion-worthy

With these Christmas-inspired goodies on your side, you’re bound to be the talk of the cookie swap. If you’re short on time, feel free to use store-bought jam instead of making your own. We won’t judge.

pecan desserts pumpkin spice pecan rolls recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

5. Pumpkin Spice Pecan Rolls

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, make ahead

These are decadent enough to serve after dinner, but we won’t tell if you have one for breakfast instead. Pumpkin puree in the dough makes the rolls extra soft and moist (and turns them orange).

pecan desserts mini caramel pecan pies with cin
Photo: Jon Cospito/Styling: Erin McDowell

6. Mini Caramel Pecan Pies with Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly

They’re almost too cute to eat—almost. Use store-bought cinnamon roll dough and caramel sauce to save time; the filling is the most important part, after all.

pecan desserts Maple Pecan Icebox Cookies Recip
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

7. Maple-Pecan Icebox Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, make ahead, <10 ingredients

Slice-and-bake cookies are a busy hostess’s best friend. Supplement the maple syrup in the dough with a dash of maple extract to really drive the flavor home.

pecan desserts pecan pie scones recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

8. Pecan Pie Scones

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

Another breakfast beauty that can hold its own at the dessert table (especially because there’s pie crust folded into the dough). No one will mind washing these beauties down with mulled apple cider or slow cooker spiked cinnamon lattes.

pecan desserts GBCakes SweetPotatoPecanPie Hero
Grandbaby Cakes

9. Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 20 minutes (includes chilling time)
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

Behold: Thanksgiving in pie form. Save time by using store-bought pie crust instead of your own, then make up for the shortcut with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream.

pecan desserts pecan snowballs 3
Sally’s Baking Recipes

10. Pecan Snowball Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, make ahead, crowd-pleaser, one bowl, <10 ingredients

It doesn’t get simpler (or less messy) than a one-bowl cookie recipe that calls for pantry staples almost exclusively. Make them even cuter by adding festive sprinkles to the confectioners’ sugar.

pecan desserts Caramelized Pecan Sticky Buns 4
Broma Bakery

11. Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Hello, decadence. Nothing beats serving these pillowy soft buns with a side of presents on Christmas morning, but we’d be just as psyched to eat them post-dinner too.

pecan desserts Apple Pecan Pie Cronuts with App
Half Baked Harvest

12. Apple Pecan Pie Cronuts with Apple Cider Caramel Drizzle

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy

Our favorite thing about this recipe (besides the Honeycrisp filling, cider caramel and cream cheese frosting, that is)? You can start with refrigerated Crescent roll dough.

pecan desserts turtle cheesecake 7
A Cookie Named Desire

13. Turtle Cheesecake with Almond-Oat Crust

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours and 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

Despite the heavenly chocolate ganache, pecan-dappled caramel sauce and turtle candy garnish, this cheesecake isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, thanks to tangy sour cream in the filling.

pecan desserts pecan shortbread 3
Sally’s Baking Recipes

14. Pecan Shortbread

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, make ahead

Leave your rolling pin alone—you’ll only need your go-to bowl and a mixer to pull off these buttery, nutty cookies. They’ll stay fresh at room temperature for up to a week, so make them ahead if you have time.

pecan desserts Sour Cream Apple Coffee Cake 4
Broma Bakery

15. Sour Cream Apple Coffee Cake with Maple Pecan Streusel

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, make ahead

The brown sugar swirl, peppered with pecan and cinnamon, is optional, as is the three-ingredient maple icing…but we can’t imagine why you’d nix them.

pecan desserts Easy Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler Recip
Well Plated by Erin

16. Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy

Berries, apples and peaches tend to be the go-to fruits for cobbler, but why leave out everyone’s favorite gourd? (The cobbler even creates its own warm caramel sauce while it bakes.)

pecan desserts Pralines Recipe 3again
Grandbaby Cakes

17. Classic Southern Pecan Pralines

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

We’d prefer a tin of these for the holidays over a gift basket any day. Replace the molasses in the recipe with dark corn syrup if you prefer thicker, chewier pralines.

pecan desserts Butter Pecan Frosted Fudge Brown
Half Baked Harvest

18. Butter Pecan Frosted Fudge Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, beginner-friendly

The look of the frosting is enticing enough, but if you need more convincing, the pecans are candied in bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla before being added to the mix.

pecan desserts brown butter pecan pie bars 2
Sally’s Baking Recipes

19. Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

All the satisfaction of pecan pie, minus the fussy crimping. Instead, the brown butter crust is simply pressed into the pan and baked.

pecan desserts pecan chocolate truffles
Half Baked Harvest

20. Chocolate-Covered Pecan Butter Truffles

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

The recipe calls for making your own pecan butter in a food processor, but you can easily substitute store-bought if you don’t have the gadget (or the energy).

pecan desserts apple pecan pull apart muffins
A Cookie Named Desire

21. Caramel Apple Pecan Muffins

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

The filling is made up of diced apples, chopped pecans, golden raisins and caramel. It’ll work with any baking apple you like (although we’re partial to tart-sweet varieties), and you can substitute dried cranberries for raisins too if you’d prefer.

pecan desserts pecan biscuits
Broma Bakery

22. Browned Butter Pecan Biscuits

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Sweet-and-salty stans, this one’s for you. Serve ’em up at breakfast time or pile them high with ice cream, whipped cream or baked fruit for dessert.

pecan desserts Turtle Candy 4
Grandbaby Cakes

23. Turtle Candy

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

These chewy, crunchy delights will be our go-to hostess gift ’til the end of time, TYVM. You’ll be shocked how quickly and painlessly they come together.

pecan desserts cranberry pecan cake 3
Sally’s Baking Recipes

24. Cranberry Pecan Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

If vanilla icing isn’t your thing, serve the cake plain or substitute confectioners’ sugar. Either way, you can freeze it for up to three months and thaw it before serving.

pecan desserts Pecan Pie Cookies with Butter Pe
Half Baked Harvest

25. Pecan Pie Cookies with Butter Pecan Frosting

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, make ahead, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Seasonal cookie cutters can take a dessert from basic to beautiful in an instant. As if their shape and the frosting don’t make them Insta-worthy enough, the cookies are also finished with chopped pecans and chocolate drizzle.

pecan desserts Honey Pecan Blondies
Well Plated by Erin

26. Honey Bars

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

This better-for-you dessert is just what your diet-obsessed relative is craving. Made with unsweetened applesauce, honey and white whole wheat flour, these bars clock in at 147 calories a piece.

pecan desserts Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie 4
Grandbaby Cakes

27. Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

The filling is very fudgy in texture, but you can help it set (and slice easier) by covering and refrigerating the pie for a couple of hours before serving it.

pecan desserts Slice N Bake Vanilla Brown Butte
Half Baked Harvest

28. Slice-and-Bake Vanilla Brown Butter Pecan Cookies Dipped in Chocolate

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, make ahead

BRB, drooling. The brown butter offers plenty of nuttiness to the cookies, but you can up the ante by toasting the pecans before adding them to the dough.

pecan desserts maple pecan snickerdoodles
Sally’s Baking Recipes

29. Maple Pecan Snickerdoodles

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

This autumnal trifecta is basically impossible not to like, so these cookies are just the ticket if you don’t know what to serve for Thanksgiving dessert. Be sure to set aside at least two hours for the dough to chill.

pecan desserts White Chocolate Maple Pecan Cook
Broma Bakery

30. White Chocolate Maple Pecan Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, make ahead

They’re as simple to prepare as your favorite chocolate chip cookies. Dare we add crushed pretzels or potato chips to the dough to make the cookies even saltier?

pecan desserts Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cak
Half Baked Harvest

31. Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

Oh, hi, brown sugar icing and coconut-vanilla whipped cream. Where have you been all our life? You can make this stunner up to four days in advance of the big feast.

pecan desserts easy brown butter pecan madelein
A Cookie Named Desire

32. Brown Butter Pecan Madeleines

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

As fancy looking as these French treats are, they actually require minimal time and ingredients to come to fruition. Serve them warm for maximum deliciousness.

pecan desserts Butter Pecan Cheesecake 13
Grandbaby Cakes

33. Butter Pecan Cheesecake

  • Time Commitment: 15 hours and 15 minutes (includes resting time)
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, special occasion-worthy

Don’t let the prep time discourage you—most of those 15 hours are chilling time. Pro tip: Start with room temperature ingredients to ensure your filling is lump-free.

35 Almond Desserts That Are Equal Parts Nutty, Easy and Decadent


Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.